Recovering Celebrities "Come Out" in New Film

By Sarah Beller 04/09/13

A bold new documentary, The Anonymous People, breaks the invisibility of addiction.

No fried eggs in a pan.

A new documentary, The Anonymous People, aims to sensationalize recovery—not addiction. As one of the film's subjects says, "Recovery is sensational!" The film, which explores the common link among the estimated 23.5 million Americans living in long-term recovery from alcohol and other drug addictions, "is not your tired old addiction story often seen on reality television or in the news," the film's producer, Greg Williams, tells The Fix. "There are no needles hanging out of people's arms, pictures of the brain, or fried eggs in a pan. We set out to find the answer to one very fundamental question: Why don't we treat addiction in this country like any other health issue?"

According to the filmmakers, "Deeply entrenched social stigma and mass participation in widely successful anonymous 12-step groups have kept recovery voices silent and faces hidden for decades." But now, many recovery advocates are beginning to "come out of the shadows to tell their true stories." The powerful message of The Anonymous People is conveyed through the faces and voices
 of the leaders, volunteers, corporate executives and celebrities who are "coming out" in order 
to publicize the epidemic of addiction—and to help other addicts break their silence. This new public recovery movement aims to transform public opinion, change public dialogue around addiction and recovery, and unite the recovery community as a political force. The film is executive produced by the Morgan le Fay Dreams Foundation (of which Paul McCulley, the chairman of The Fix's parent company, Recovery Media LLC, is president) and features actress and Guts author Kristen Johnston, Miss USA 2006 Tara Conner, former congressman Patrick Kennedy, news anchor Laurie Dhue, former NBA star Chris Herren and many other public figures who have chosen to "come out" about living in recovery. You can watch the trailer here:

The Anonymous People—Successful KickStarter Video from Greg Williams on Vimeo.

You can catch screenings of the film, featuring Q&As with filmmaker Greg Williams, near you. Below are two of the planned events; check out the film's Facebook events page for more screenings nationwide.

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Sarah Beller is a writer and the Executive Director at Filter. She has written about drug policy with a focus on harm reduction for Substance.comThe Fix and Salon. She has worked as a social worker with formerly incarcerated people in New York for a number of years. Her writing has also appeared in McSweeney’sThe HairpinThe ToastReductressThe Rumpus and other publications. You can find Sarah on Linkedin and Twitter.